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‘Tipping’ Over the Cultural Iceberg

Revealing the Truth About Gratuity
Tipping is one of those acts that is often referred to as a ‘custom’. When a foreigner stumbles upon the topic whilst conversing with a native-tipper, they are likely to receive an explanation that is 90% pride and 10% history. But tipping is not one of those customs. It's far more economical than cultural, and despite the evidence and experts and number-crunching not quite adding up to support the current situation, it still exists (not in all places of course).
The United States of America is famous for its tipping culture. Within certain sectors of the service industry, workers are eligible to receive optional tips on top of their salaries. A received tip is mark of exceptional service and a reward and incentive to continue to provide the customer excellent care. What’s more is that these professionals technically don’t have a fixed wage [1], thus can earn more for their hard work. Sounds pretty good, right? After all, these jobs are necessar…

Who Can Say Politics Isn't Interesting?

Reflections on the US Presidential Election
The whole world watches the US presidential election. Most of us watch it begrudgingly, feeling guilty but compelled to switch to CNN despite the war raging RIGHT NOW in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. It’s frustrating and addictive and entertaining.
So, what caught my eyes and ears? The promise and potential of Bernie Sanders; young, female voters turning away from Clinton and Ted Cruz’s uncanny ability to make everything sound insincere. If I was alarmed at Donald Trump’s statements, I mostly masked that horror with laughter and disbelief.  
I was buzzing with optimism the night before the results came out. I was anticipating the presidency of one of the most qualified people in American history, a woman to boot. I’m a maths student, so I think in probabilities and possibilities, and on Tuesday night, Donald Trump felt like neither.
‘T was not to be. How could I forget that in every multiple choice test I’d ever taken, my attempt to guess would …

No Post-Brexit Agenda, I Promise

The Story of An Immigrant
We always think of achievement as a quantified or certified experience. We try our level best to measure every inch of an individual’s experience: the distance you swam, the height you jumped or the notes you faltered. When I was asked to talk about what I considered my greatest achievement, I sighed… and then sighed some more.
I had never been overly enthusiastic about the world of extra-curricular; for most of my formative years, my only after school activity had been to go home. So, when I was asked to present this topic-which-everyone-surely-has-something-to-talk-about-r, I spent a good portion of the preparation time regretting those afternoons where I waltzed right out of school, and directly into my cosy home. When I searched through my past school certificates I realised that I didn’t recognise any of them and barely remembered the events. I was mentally preparing to bullshit through some made-up, vaguely-believable story as the ultimate option.
Bu…

Let's Clear Up Some Doubts

The Difference Between Sexual Liberation and Sexual Objectification
AGENCY. This three-syllable word can help us understand the difference between sexual liberation and objectification, but it’s not that easy. This is a pretty nuanced matter so it requires some solid and backed-up-by-examples kind of explaining.
So let’s start with definitions. I like the Urban Dictionary version, which defines ‘sexual liberation’ as the ability to enjoy sexual activities without guilt or shame. I’ll go one step further and describe it as the idea that sex should be enjoyed on one’s own terms and knowing that your own desires are worth just as much as the opposite person’s. This term is generally applied to women, because the Sexual Liberation Movement focused on telling women that their sexual desires must be fulfilled, and that they shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed about pre-marital sex. The whole point of the movement is to make people realise that female orgasms do exist and should be a mandato…

An Overrated Virtue

Ungrateful
As a teenager living in one of the richest and most influential (probably a bit less after #Brexit) first-world countries, I have watched several slideshows underlining the virtue called “gratefulness”. How I as a bratty, hormonal, complaining youngster should be eternally thankful for the food on my table, water in my tap and shelter over my head, because a jarring majority of the world’s population don’t have the privileges that I do. They want me to walk out of the school assembly hall feeling content about my life and marvel complacently at the sheer miracle that are my circumstances. Their means to achieve this goal are unvaried and, dare I say, boring.
Every time, I am subjected to people suffering through one of many seemingly endless problems of this world: starvation, war, inequality and other derivatives of the same. Each time, I feel nothing more than distaste at the perpetrators and pity towards the sufferers. I do not feel remotely grateful for the life that h…

Writing Excercise: Ironically, It's About Writer's Block

Dear diary, It hadn’t been a good start of the day. In fact, that’s putting it very lightly. Horrible is the word I was looking for. But I haven’t been very good with words and ideas today… Thanks to… Writer’s block.
See, I believed I was quite proficient at what I did. Previously, writer’s block sounded like an Australian outback factoid, a myth: distant and far from believable. Now, and again, much like those factoids, I realise the unavoidable truth of it, its ghastly reality and its heightened importance in my life. It’s such a shame. I allowed my story to unfold the way it wanted to; the way that felt right. Somewhere along the line, watching this creation of mine come to life, I made a grave error in its nurturing.
This morning, as I typed out “Chapter Forty-Five”, the blankness of the page glowed with overwhelming intensity.  Thinking of it as a momentary lapse of my vision, I proceeded to type out my character’s thoughts in 14, Times New Roman. Spoiler alert: I couldn’t. Th…