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Denial

Came across this post on reddit written by a cancer patient. It was about him finding out he didn't have much time to live, and proceeded to advise everyone to not waste time doing stuff they didn't like.

I immediately closed that tab, not wanting to open up that part of me again.

In all honestly, whatever career path I've been looking at has been mainly focussed on the potential of making more money. I've reached a point where my mentality is "if I'm not going to do anything I like, might as well do something that makes more money".

Sometimes, I wish there was a restart button.

A visit to the nursing home

"What plans do you have today?"

"Don't think I have any, why?"

"We're going to visit your uncle."

My father's eldest brother has been paralysed for many years as a result of a stroke. Since then, he has been in a nursing home, wheelchair-bound, unable to utter a single word and only communicate exclusively using a variation of sounds and single-handed hand gestures. 

Upon our arrival, my uncle was seen sitting in the front porch of the nursing home, staring through the gates as if he knew that my dad was coming. The sad reality is that he probably was waiting for my dad, knowing that he would visit about once a month. The only thing we don't know is how often he does that.

My dad had to tell him straight away that he won't be bringing my uncle out today. You could almost see the disappointment in my uncle's eyes. He even had his going-out-slippers on. 

The rest of the patients were in the living room, consumed by whatever that was on the TV. Come to think of it, that would probably be a better option than waiting.

We sat around the table in the porch and my dad started talking to him while he had the KFC that my dad bought. It's a good thing my dad's pretty talkative in nature, since the conversation consists of him talking and my uncle just reacting to whatever he says. With my mom around, it was vaguely reminiscent of the days when our whole family actually had reunion dinners together with the conversation of family and relatives.

I respect my dad a lot, because other people in his shoes probably wouldn't do the same. My uncle wasn't particularly helpful back when my dad just got to the city. If anything, him and his wife were pretty condescending as they were pretty well-to-do, whereas my dad was the poor younger brother he had. My dad would go on and on about how his eldest brother did not even bother to call him up to see whether he was alive. I could only imagine how much heartache he must have felt.

Now, my uncle could only shake his head when asked whether his ex-wife or his kids visited him. Somewhere throughout the conversation, he did express that his son hasn't visited him for about a month, which was actually better than what we had expected. My mom would keep saying that it's the children's responsibility to take care of their father, but you can't really expect that of people in this day and age, regardless of how much you think it is the right thing to do. 

We left after several hours and the only thing he could do is wait patiently for the next visit.

Reverse culture shock

It's been more than two weeks since I've returned to the land of the hot and humid. Almost immediately, I've settled back in the house I call home and got accustomed to not having to cook or clean. Not that hard, really.

Things have changed over the past few years. For one, espresso bars have popped up everywhere. Heck, some even offer hand-brewed coffees that I thought I would miss dearly after having left the UK. Unfortunately, it's priced way beyond something that could be consumed regularly. That pretty much sums up the "reverse culture shock" I've been observing: everything is bloody expensive, and I don't understand how Malaysians can afford them.

It seems to me that Malaysians love to consume imported goods in the manner in which people from countries where the goods are being imported from are consuming. Say for instance a fresh graduate with a salary of £2000 spends £2.50 on a cup of flat white, whereas the fresh grads here with a salary of RM3000 spends RM10 on the same thing. Of course there are the lot that do not go for such luxuries, but take a trip to such places you'd see young people enjoy these cups of heaven that I wish I could have every day ...

Eating out becomes ridiculously expensive as well. The difference is that there are cheaper alternatives here, whereas the cheaper alternatives in the UK aren't that far off. A cheap meal here costs RM10, whereas it could easily go up to RM50 and above if you go for something slightly better. In the UK, a cheap meal would probably cost £5, but a lobster is just £20. I guess I'm just trying to make fair comparisons in my head, but it's really hard.

Take electronics for example. It seems that we Malaysians spend a significantly larger proportion of our income on the latest flagship smartphone whereas in Western countries, it seems much more affordable considering the money they make.

If I did Economics, I would probably do my dissertation on the comparison of consumption patterns. Of course it would be extremely challenging, but I no one's going to hold my word against me on it so it doesn't really matter.

It's great that I have a blog that virtually no one reads, so I have a place to write down my unsubstantiated observations and thoughts.

It seems like a good decision to take a break before getting a job. I'm slowly recalibrating my brain into the right state of mind. I'm so whiny I annoy myself sometimes. I'm glad my dad's there to listen to all my whining.
-Kritz