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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sexuality Issues at the Office and How I'm Fitting In

Commitment at the new office has taken over much of my time that I don't seem to have very long moments to myself these days. I find it hard to even sit down for a couple of hours and properly put my feelings onto paper. But whenever I do manage to write, I am always profoundly rewarded by the liberating state of mind that comes with catharsis.

Anyway, ever since I started working again, I've been feeling very insecure about my colleagues possibly finding out that I like men. Despite being in a field where I believe many successful gay guys can be commonly foundI have no idea why such an irrelevant subject like my sexuality should matter, or even bother me in the office that I'm working. 

I guess at the back of my head, I do still worry about how I'm going to be judged or talked about. Or how this innate circumstance of mine will go against my favour in a society where my sexuality is still a highly sensitive subject.

When I accepted this position with the intention of wanting to try things out, I anticipated to a great extend too that this could be the avenue from which I would have the opportunity to meet other successful gay guys within the industry. Not that that takes priority over the career aim I want to pursue, but I did think humourously to myself: "What's the point of being in this field if it can't grant me the bonus access of putting me in touch with other successful gay associates?"

So imagine my slight disappointment when I found out that all the men in the branch of this company are strong devotees of the Abrahamic religions. The impression that I got from everyone at the office including the females themselves, was that they've never actually seen the world from a soulful aspect beyond work or perhaps gone through a certain self-enlightening process that comes with the development of broadening one's mind.

One day at lunch, my colleagues started asking me if I'm attached or if I have a girlfriend. I said confidently that I was single and I just left it at that. Now I am aware that it's a harmless question where people usually ask out of wanting to get to know you, but I can't help but feel precariously insecure with questions like these, and take on the enormous pressure that comes with the insecurity of not being like everybody else. 

Then came two occasions where I felt kind of awkward and suffocated. One was when a female colleague was telling everybody in the office of how her ex-boyfriend turned gay after they broke up, effectively making him the eighth consecutive member to join her league of Ex-Boyfriends-Who-Turned-Gay club. The entire lunch hour was a shallow discussion between them all of 'who knows who is gay' and 'what does what is gay' according to their straight perspective.

The second was when a male colleague of mine was doing something I can't remember which was deemed "too gay" by the people in the office. They placed him on the hot seat for a few minutes but he cleverly used his I-Have-A-Girlfriend-And-She's-From-Church card to put a cap on it.

For some reason, they spontaneously put me as a target and made some teasing comments. I acted as if I didn't hear it because I just can't be bothered, but deep down inside, a very irritated voice was screaming at the top of his lungs: "What the fuck is wrong with you narrow-minded people? If being gay was as simple as 'doing this' or 'doing that', then the world wouldn't be so problematic would it? Real gay guys like me wouldn't need to 'fuck men' to be gay am I right? Jeez!"

The Inner Voice:
"Calm the fuck down."

I excused myself from the crowd to go off because I wanted to buy something from the book store. It might have been too obvious, it might have not, but I knew that I needed to get some air alone. As I wandered around the neighbourhood shops on my own, my mind was just flooded with thoughts and emotions. 

"After everything that you've put yourself through for the past two years, to come out and to accept yourself, you're letting some people at work make you feel inferior or insecure? I thought we weren't going to let it be a problem? I thought we were going to 'release the shame' and live our life truthfully. What's happening?"

I pondered deeply to myself if there was a bigger reason behind why I'm still affected by it. Could this be the universe's way of trying to help me make peace with it once and for all? Is this scenario going to keep happening until I finally make a decision not to let it bother me no more about what other people think?

"You know M, if people are ever truly going to genuinely not make an issue out of who you are, shouldn't they be more 'mature' or normal about it when it comes to sexuality? I mean you don't see your friends from abroad engaging in the same childish reaction do they?"

The Inner Voice:
"So are you saying that we should just get it over with and be transparent? Let them know something so personal?!"

"No! Of course not! That's just not fair. I don't want to be transparent! It's none of their business if I'm gay or if I like men. And I definitely don't need to pander to people by sharing that kind of information. It's irrelevant to their lives or in the office!"

"Never forget that people need to earn the right to know your story. And in our case, it has taken us so long to even tell the people we hold dearest to our hearts. We learnt that the long and winding way. So stand tall and fight it out. Just take things as it comes and move on as necessary."

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Only Sure Way To Avoid Criticism

"The only sure way to avoid criticism, is to say nothing, do nothing and be nothing" - Aristotle

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

He Who Asks The Question May Be A Fool For 5 Minutes

"He who asks the question may be a fool for 5 minutes. But he who doesn't is a fool forever" - Chinese Proverb

Sunday, 19 January 2014

What Kind Of A Chess Piece Are You In Life?

My younger brother and I were in the car yesterday. In the middle of a traffic congestion, I told him a story. There is a plane of existence known as the Chessboard. Nobody could understand how it was created, why it exists and how certain rules or arrangements came to be as such, but that's just the way it is.

On the Chessboard, there are two very distinct inhabitants known as the black and the white. And both communities of monochromatic colours are made up of 16 distinct citizens, each with its own common role, prestige, capabilities and identity. They consist of one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.

The chess pieces in its physical form might represent a certain level within a hierarchy, but for every one of them, lies a spirit that is present with its own way of thinking, it's own heart and its own characteristics.

No one knows why or how it came to be, but their way of life and raison d'être is to obliterate the opposing community as a team in service to one another. The Chessboard is therefore said to be at its most balanced and peaceful when citizens of both sides remain stationary within the last two chequered rows at opposing ends.

Whenever the communities of both parties are in a battle known as a game of Chess, their ultimate goal is to trap the opponent's king so that it may not escape. The official term is also known as checkmate. 

The king is the most important piece. According to the system that has been set based upon the hierarchy, all chess pieces serve their king. However, how the kings of each community rose to prominence, or to their current state of elitism is unknown. They could have been born into the role, or risen through a certain process to become the leader that he is.

The destiny and fate of each chess piece, along with the triumph and fall of both communities are decided by an 'external force' known as the universe. Some pieces might be aware of that, and some might not. In fact, each piece on the Chessboard may have the right to their personal ideas with regard to how they view themselves and their roles.

In this particular story of a game of Chess, there is a determined black pawn who's main compassionate goal is to secure the survival of as many of his team members rather than the conventionally targeted goal. For together, they make up the community and the brotherhood he comes from. And with that, his ultimate purpose carries a great deal of good that is oriented towards the well-being of his peers 

This fictionalised pawn is aware of the fact that despite him originating from the lowest rank of the communal hierarchy, his act of service on the Chessboard and within the game of Chess actually stretches beyond the mere goal of assisting his team mates in checkmating the opposing king in solidification of their own. 

He realises that by fulfilling the role and purpose of his existence, he is in fact 'part of a piece' that make up a grand design where the universe will run its course. And through him, he is determined to be used as a vessel 'in service' to the well-being of his community. He is a medium and a channel for which the 'external force' will be able to channel its course to the Chessboard, whatever the destiny or outcome might be.

He's saying to the universe that even as a pawn, he is definitely 'worthy' of being a part of a bigger plan that is for the betterment of his pieces. It doesn't matter if his team mates will give him the due recognition for his thinking, or if the societal system on the Chessboard has a limit as to the way things are done, but he will continue to live and believe in his own personal brand. And his personal brand carries a heavy dose of compassion, goodness and loyalty that will affect the lives of other chess pieces.

There are times when the black pawn in the interests of others, wishes it could play the role of a knight, a rook or a queen. For then he would possess the more powerful reach of these pieces on the Chessboard and not be limited to the move of only a single square. The dream position would then empower him with more effective resources to accelerate his compassionate cause and better implement the survival of his peers and his community.

The black king on the same existence plane however, is a spiritual coward being born into the elite role. Due to the innate privileges that were given by birth right, he never went through challenges in life, and doesn't understand the concept of what it feels like to be a servant of another. He never had to learn how to be considerate of others because it is not in his nature as king.

As a result, his social standing on the Chessboard and self-conjured ego became a priority over the well-being of his other chess pieces. Without the hierarchical support those who are lower, he will not be of significance. Hence, regardless if his heart is pure or egocentric, the king needs to constantly reaffirm his close supporters such as his bishops and his knights in order to remain socially significant.

The knights on the other hand, are one of the most well known pieces on the Chessboard. Revered for its elegance, L-shape moves, and the privilege of leaping over other pieces, the knight's physical appeal, role and capabilities are very unique. They too never have to deal with being viewed as a lesser entity by their king or other inhabitants on the existence plane. 

Within the same game of Chess, one of the black knight's ambitious goal is to kill the white queen for the sole purpose of looking good in front of his king and his peers. The black pawn and the egocentric black knight might still, through their roles, fulfil the act of service to their communities on the Chessboard. However, the mission-driven energy that is emanating from each one of them into the universe is completely different. One for the compassionate survival of his peers, and the other for the shallow purpose of his ego.

As the game progresses to its final stages, the black knight did fulfil his goal of capturing the white queen and was heavily lauded by the king and his community for his achievement. Suddenly, in a twist of universal arrangement that the entire Chessboard didn't see coming, the knight's fame and achievement was short-lived as he was vanquished by the opponent's rook.

The black pawn however, who constantly kept the bigger picture in mind of his role as 'a vessel in service' throughout the entire game for the well-being of the black, unexpectedly made it across the entire battle field to reach the eight rank. As a result, the black pawn is effectively being promoted to a black queen for the pure-hearted spirit within of wanting to bring a sense of betterment to her community through her role and existence.

What happened there was that the universe picked up on the mindful energy that was being released by each individual pieces on the Chessboard and bringing their desires to fruition via a certain law. However with regard to the real purpose, genuineness, and meaningful intentions behind those desires, they certainly do affect how the universe will decide your fate and how to give you what you want.

"So in the end, which team won? The white or the black?", asked my brother.

"Well, let's just say that at this point, it doesn't matter. But I think the more important question you should be contemplating is, what kind of a chess piece are you in life?

The black knight who wants the white queen in exchange for unexpected short-lived fame? The egocentric king who's mere existence was because he happened to be born into the prominent role without contributing much significance to his community? Or the newly promoted queen who was rewarded by the universe for previously serving the successful role of a pawn that crossed the Chessboard in the name of service to the well-being and betterment of his community?"

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Falling Out Relations With A Dutch Guy

I couldn't remember if it was Jack'd or if it was Grindr, but going back to when I first started using the gay dating apps, my eyes caught the thumbnail of a foreign-looking guy on the display tile. "That's odd", I thought. "Why would a traveller or a tourist choose to be 'here' in the suburban outskirts?" I was cruising from home and somehow his presence in the area just didn't make sense. 

Being the restless person who can't seem to leave people alone, I initiated contact with a hello and convinced him to chat on WhatsApp instead. That way, we'll get to exchange numbers. I learnt from the brief conversation that he was a Dutch expatriate a couple of kilometres away.

After a few lackadaisical responses along with his seemingly distant attitude on WhatsApp, I convinced myself to stop being desperate and just move on without any of that 'was-it-me?' baggage that I used to make myself carry. I really needed to learn how to live without it.

So fast forward about 11 months later, a thumbnail of a foreign-looking torso sent me an afternoon message on Scruff asking if I'm horny. I said yeah and requested to see a face picture. Turns out, it was the same Dutch guy. His sudden approach triggered a slight raise to the ego that was bruised the last time he left me hanging. However, I was very nice to him and agreed to a sex date in the late evening because we were both busy in the afternoon.

Nightfall came and I sent him a text asking him what the plan was. Apparently he was still far away in the city centre. He informed me that he was robbed of his belongings and was in the midst of trying to sort things out.

Although I was a little disappointed at the fact that such a misfortune just have to happen at a time when I'm about to meet someone, but I was also worried how he was going to get home without cash. He lives in the neighbouring suburb and public transportation in the state just never has that kind of convenient reach.

He told me he's going to use remaining coins to buy a train ticket to the last subway stop, then call a friend to pick him up. Thinking that I will not let such a thing ruin my chances of meeting him, I offered to pick him up and send him home without any expectations as I would also like to perform a kind gesture on my part. For if I were to be stranded in his situation, I would appreciate it too if someone met me halfway.

As I caught sight of his tall and slim figure at the train station, I called out to him and extended my hand to shake his. Under the bright public lights, I noticed that the man in flesh has aged a couple of years. I took a self-reflective moment and pondered to my inner self if my looks were even worthy of going through what people commonly refer to as "prime years".

By the time we got into the car, our conversation took on a warmer tone and I managed to convince him to grab a cup of coffee with me. On the way to the coffee house, he was telling me about his robbing ordeal and I asked him with genuine curiosity as to what was a Dutch guy like him doing in a corrupted nation like mine that doesn't seem to be heading for positive development.

He told me that he loves the lifestyle and the culture, although now after dealing with the police, he was starting to see why it can sometimes be a frustrating place to live. "There we go!", I answered playfully.

Over coffee, we talked about an array of things, but mostly about him. Through my silent behavioural observation, I was very much aware of the superiority complex and arrogance that is present within many European man. Apart from that, there's also a strong stench of seemingly cold thinking, self-righteous driven judgement, and blunt usage of adjectives on people.

As an expatriate, I learnt that he works for a well established company, and is earning a five to six figure monthly salary that is more than what educated locals can afford to earn here in a year. In his own words, because he makes a good living, he can do "whatever he wants". I guess from his perspective and financial standing, I can definitely see the allure of settling down here.

Gradually, the topic moved on to his previous relationships, and how it turned sour because of the many issues that were partly, but not entirely due to the difference in financial success. His ex-boyfriend was living lavishly on credit debt in lieu of trying to keep up with a "cosmopolitan lifestyle" that was centred around four figure restaurant bills, five-star resorts, intercontinental jet-setting, glamourous event openings, excessive retail purchases and million-dollar cars.

Not only did it became a constant competition for the guy to impress his social circle of gay friends, but it was also his way of trying to deal with the inadequate emotions that stemmed from not being able to handle the financial success of his partner. In typical classic gay drama, it all came to an end with some domestic violence, and a six-figure settlement that involved the bank wanting to close in on the partner's home.

After the relationship ended, the Dutch guy started seeing somebody else. 8 months into the new relationship, this new guy revealed out of the blue that he was actually already in some kind of a financial arrangement with a British sugar daddy, who will be dropping by soon from the United Kingdom for a visit.

As I listened, I sat there in silence and in shock as I tried to digest everything that was told from his perspective. I remember feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole spiritually and morally bankrupted behaviour of those guys, but then again my instincts were also telling me that the Dutch guy could also be downplaying what actually happened and accentuating things for his own image. Suddenly, two voices were rationalising itself in my head.

Isn't it strange how such a well educated person who grew up in such an advanced country like the Netherlands with such admirable financial and career success here, would 'attract' or perhaps end up with partners like the two guys he just mentioned?

Guess I must still be very naive then with regard to my understanding of human emotion and behaviour.

The Inner Voice: [interjects]
Hold it. Why is he telling you all this? Is he trying to send you a message in case something develops? I don't understand. Does he think that I'm some ordinary young guy who is also after someone like him who is rich, foreign and successful?

Wait, I DO desire a boyfriend who is rich, foreign and successful. But only for the reasons being that I want to live with a partner of a different culture, and also for the intention of wanting to be in a partnership that could possibly translate into some kind of mentorship, in career and also in life.

The Inner Voice:
But this Dutch guy and his money isn't what we have in mind. Besides, don't we want 'our' own self-earned success, recognition and wealth? That way we can stand tall in our own light. Beats 'being attached' to a rich, successful boyfriend any time for the sake of it.

He: [ talking ]
"I don't go on the apps often because I usually do not want people from the professional circle to recognise me. Besides, it's hard to have a conversation with many of the guys you find on the apps. Like how you and I are talking right now."

As I fell right back into the present, it felt nice to hear his last comment. Soon enough, it was time to leave and I paid for our coffee because I want to make a personal initiative of showing my generosity and openness. While walking away from the coffee place, I found myself wondering if we were going to have a little fun in the car or somewhere else before I drop him off.

My car was soon rolling down the street of an exclusive neighbourhood that is lined with four million dollar villas. I have friends who live in places like these, and for someone to reside in one of these homes from where I come from would probably mean that their parents are doing very well.

"You can stop there, in front of the house with the blue car. I'm currently renting this place until the house I bought down by the lake there is done. It belongs to the new phase of residential development and it's still under construction."

The Inner Voice:
Oh my god! What? Renting a multi million dollar home? A new villa he bought further down by the lake? One that he owns?

"So have a good night! Thank you for coming to get me."

"No problem! You have a goodnight too."

Throughout the 10 minute drive from his neighbouring suburb to mine, my mind was just bursting with thoughts of fantasy, hope, rationalisation, envy and excitement. If something were to develop between me and him, will I be able to handle his financial success? 

On one hand I allowed myself to be humbled by his capabilities, but on the other, my determined self was so dead set on wanting to live my own destiny and making it bigger than him. Financially, spiritually, characteristically. Oh so you do have a ball of closeted pride inside!

The next day, I held back on the strong urge to contact him, but felt a sense of consolation to see that he sent me a message on WhatsApp asking me how I am. So yesterday evening probably wasn't for nothing at all! This pattern started to repeat itself, with both of us approaching one another every other alternative day.

There are times when I really enjoy chatting to him. I even turned to him for some man to younger guy advice about the time I had sexual troubles with a hot top. I appreciated him so much for the avuncular manner in which he openly discussed those things with me.

However, what turns me off in the conversation is when he criticises people in general so overtly. It might have been via an instant mobile messaging service, but words such as tasteless, stupid and useless which are being used so bluntly on people makes me rethink the kind of soul he has. 

His justification was that he is somebody who speaks the truth and does not waste time. But compassionate thinking, heartfelt consideration and non judgemental understanding are very important things to me. For I deeply believe in the insurmountable intelligence, and reverence those qualities hold in life and in leadership.

About three weeks went by and it started to hit me that this guy doesn't know me at all. He doesn't even make any progressive initiatives to ask me about my life. In his mind, I am just another one of those guys who grew up in a third world country. On one occasion when I demonstrated good knowledge for a field that I studied, he said that he was "surprised" that I knew so much about such subject because people of my nationality are usually ignorant about things.

He then carried on into a full blown attack mode, criticising and generalising every citizen of this country. It might or might not have been heartless, but one should at least from a basic human level consider the feelings of the other person when they speak. The next morning, there were about thirty messages on my WhatsApp stating his point after much defence and disagreement from me.

I might not be the most patriotic person out there, but at least I come from a place whereby I am being taught to stand up for your own wolf pack. So in wanting to curb his rampant criticism and debasement of my fellow citizens, I got in the way of his ego as somebody who tried to ridicule his intelligence.

Throughout rebutting his opinion, I constantly kept a sense of grace and class as I really didn't want to stoop down to his level. However despite maintaining a very open and nice approach, he ignored me completely without a word. So after a one-way Christmas and New Year's greeting on my part, I told myself to let it go, and move on because maybe it's really time that I start believing that I'm meant for someone better.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Words Are The Most Powerful Drug

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling